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why i freedive...

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Just visiting...
Aug 26, 2001
hey everyone.

this is something i've been wanting to ask for a long time on this forum...

why do you freedive?
where do you freedive?
what are the conditions?
what do you see?
are there many freedivers in your area?
how long have you been doing it?
what do you get out of it?
how has it affected your life?
and, finally...
what goals are you most set out to accomplish?

obviously i'll start...
i mainly freedive to spearfish. i freedive because, to me, it's one of my only freedoms. to be out in the water with my best friend in a world so different from the norm, is just one of the most invigorating things i've ever experienced.

i mainly freedive in the US in the Florida Keys. anywhere from miami to marathon.

the water i dive in is pretty warm. on average it's about 81 degrees F. the visibility we are normally out in ranges from 30 to 120 feet. it's almost always sunny when we're out.

we see all sorts of marine life. from giant sea turtles to lobster, the species are widely diverse and range from ounces to hundreds of pounds. some we watch and follow, some we hunt, and some we swim like mad to get away from. ;)

yes, there is a good handful of freedivers in our area. still, there are only a few dive shops that stock "performance snorkeling" gear. i think most of the freedivers here are spearos, though.

i've been in the ocean my whole life. been snorkeling the reefs since i was about 8(20 years ago), but have only got into freediving in the past few years.

i get a tremendous feeling of satisfaction when i get out of the water. it's not as wonderful as the feeling of when i'm in the water, but it makes the next few days much more tolerable dealing with society. and, i don't necessarily have to load up my cooler with fish. alot of times i'm content on just practicing my stalking techniques on the big boys. (it's pretty cool when you can sneak up on a big fish :D )

freediving has totally affected my life. i'm a totally different person. i feel i have so much more confidence in myself and what i do. i honestly feel that i wouldn't have made it to where i am today without the drive this sport has given me. i'm a much more calm and sociable person today, as opposed to the quiet and introverted individual i once was.

and my goals... i'd like to be able to hunt successfully and safely at 30m. :cool:

thanks everyone. i'm more than eager to hear what everyone has to say.

~ anderson
The need for depth

I have always freedived. From my earliest recollections I loved to be underwater. As a child I would fill the bathtub and add soap and then lay on the bottom under the soap as long as I could. I spent most of my summers underwater or climbing something. I cannot imagine not diving. Why I dive is as unanswerable as why I breathe; or as answerable - its is part of living for me.

I dive anywhere I can as long as there is adequate visibility. I am a visual peson and to dive in muck is not to dive. I can stick my head in a bucket of water and close my eyes if that is all it will be. Last March I experienced warm water for the first time when we went to Belize. I am dedicated to living in the tropics now. Warm oceans with all that life and minimal gear. Pure nirvana.

One of my favorite places to dive is Waldo Lake in Oregon. It has 70+ feet of visibility - all the time- and virtually no motorboat traffic, or any boat traffic. It has little life to see but the water color is so incredibly beautiful and the light as it filters into the depths creates episodes of photons that are transcendental.

I have seldom lived in an area that had many freedivers and have done most of my freediving alone or more recently with Octo. I have been freediving all my life. Back in the 1970's we used to tie a bedsheet around a car tire innertube and carry pillowcases filled with rocks out into Lake Tahoe. The pillow cases were tied to a 50m climbing rope and we would grab the pillow case and ride it to the bottom then swim up and measure how much rope was left. I eventually got to depths in which I would have to swim down past the pillow case to reach the bottom as the rope wasn't long enough. We know I was reaching at least -185 feet. We didn't know that this was a big deal. We were doing this without fins, nose plugs, wetsuits, facemasks, or any other gear. It wasn't until I saw the movie the Big Blue that I realised that what we were doing was great interest and had high status in other cultures.

Freediving is transcendental. When I dive I experience a spiritual awareness that is beyond my ability to put into words. I have the brain chemistry and psychology that requires a high level of risk. Freediving provides me with my adrenaline fix but requires me to control its effects to dive deeper longer. No other high risk sport that I have participated in has required the conscious center of calmness while allowing the adrenaline to flow that freediving does. For some reason I am as graceful in the water as I am graceless out of it. I suck at sports that require hitting, catching, and throwing balls. I have never fit well in crowds or as part of a team. I love going places that are alien and empty and wild.

My latest goal is get back into shape once I complete my internship and dissertation. I hope to take the Krack-Lemaster course this spring if I can lose 20-pounds. Eventually my goal is live in the tropics and dive everyday and have at least one meal a day from the ocean.
why I dive.

I have been snorkeling more or less all my life, but until recently about 2 years I have done some freediving. And where I do it..in the red sea that's where I love to do it because of the diversity of marine life and warm water.
I dived in Gulf of Finland as well where visibility is ban and the water is often cold, there is nothing much to see...
Now I am in UK so hopefully I get to go diveing soon since I have no idea what is it going to be like.
What I get from diveing? Well this is it:
You dive to -20m viz is good you have done successful breathe up and have loads of (oxygen=bottom time) it feels like there is no grvity no sound just the water and the great feeling that you are flying in this world of colorful fish and corals...I get the kicks out of deep dives..and the beatiful marine life.
My goals...well I hope I am able to improve my personal best to about -50m or something like that..

I started to swim, thanks to my great uncle, at a very early age.
He wanted my in the water shortly after birth, however my mother made him wait 3 months. I made my first diving rig at age 7, it was a garbage can that could be pulled under water by my row boat and then serve as an air source. open tube free flow, regulated by a garden hose valve. This wa less than what I was looking for and had to satisfy my insatiable need to dive by freediving until I was 15, when I took lessons navy style from a retired dive master, that was in 1964. In the years that followed I was a lifeguard, owned a small salvage company, and continued with my interest in diving and water sports in general. I have always loved being in an other world. Much of this was driven by Sea Hunt, I loved the show. Over the years I dove on and off depending on the local, when in Fla. we freedove almost constantly, but a lot of the diving was yet to come. Last winter I had a very moving dream of freediving in deep blue water, and this was before knew that this was even a sport where people actually competed and the like. This got my interest in diving rekindled. before the dream I mostly windsurfed or surfed. This week I will have dived 4 times. I mostly dive near where I live, which is the Pacific Ocean. I love the ancientness of the hunt, but I do not always hunt. I often just hang around with my underwater friends the fish etc. They even come when I am in my very local waters, where I never hunt. The sport is growing very fast here, because of the Canadian National Team, which is mostly located in Vancouver. This is great, Kirk Krack has come over to speak at the local dive club. Eric Fattah and friends are over this week-end playing with the seals, so the support for the sport is great. There are not many freedivers on Vancouver Island, so I often dive alone, but that is changing now that there is more interest. Rowand's Reef in Vancouver stocks Picasso, Sporasub, and Beauchat, so gear is available. I do not do performance freeving, but am a sport diver. I would some day like to hunt halibut in deepish water, and be able to hunt comfortably in 100'. The hitch is that most of the time the really big halibut are in very deep water.

Great question, thanks for asking,

Doug Morgan,
Lantzville, B.C.
like to be under pressure

why do you freedive? the pressure of it all.
where do you freedive? so far... mostly minnesota (dark and abysmal), prefer belize, have been in jamaica, florida, kauai, and b.c.
what are the conditions? minnesota-dark and abysmal, BelIze- v-good, Jam.- super clear, florida and kauai- kinda churned up, Vancouver-pleasantly surprised.
what do you see? can only say lots,and nothing. highlights the waters with features such as crevaces and overhangs, caverns. I still really enjoy the reef fishes and rays... drifting with the turtles is cool, and the bottom, I like to hit the bottom.
are there many freedivers in your area? I'm trying to spark some interest ... none that I know of
how long have you been doing it? put on my first mask and snorkel when I was very young- now I'm mid 40's.
what do you get out of it? just personal satisfaction
how has it affected your life? This bulletin board takes way too much of my time...
and, finally...
what goals are you most set out to accomplish? Looking for 100' for now..and then maybe more - and am training in the pool for a 2 min. swim. 3 1/2 minute static ..Maybe realistic for me.. maybe not.
I just wanna be a dolphin :)

There is some kind of complete rest that comes over me when I'm in the water. It's only my self and water all around me.

Most of my freediving is in summer time in a lake in the Netherlands. Viz is very poor, 1 - 2 m, especially when the water is getting warmer (20 C) at the end of summer.
Not much to see, I really envy all you guys in the tropical waters with those fish & turtles.

Last saturday I did some freediving, temperature is down to 10 Celsius, but visibility has gone up to 5 meter.

I've been snorkelling all of my life, my interest in the deep is something of the last 5 years.

My main goal is to have fun, but setting new personal bests makes up some of that fun.
To live

I freedive because it´s my life. I don´t know any place better than water.
I used to freedive in San Andres, an island in the caribbean at north of Colombia, the conditions are perfect (30 meters visibility, 25 grades C of temperature and a wonderful view), now I freedive seldom in a lake at 2600 meters osl, with 5 metres visibility and 10 grades of temperature (a new challenge)
In the Island I see sharks (1 month ago almost become the lunch of one :D )barracudas, snapper, octopus, rays, grunts, damsellfishes, angels, a lot of animals. The lake is very poor but sometimes you can see little crabs in the bottom.
In the area where I´m living now (the capital of our country) I found some freedivers but they don´t like to freedive in lakes, they mainly train UW rugby, I´m still looking for the perfect buddy.
I´m freediving since I was 8 years old, but when I was 12 took a course of skin diving with the CMAS, that open the way to depth. At 22 my brother and I realized that we can go 32 meters down easily and that day start the searching to improve out techniques.
The water gave me and interior peace, when I was younger I used to train to go deeper than others, right now I´m still training but I forget the "fight" against others, at this moment it´s just pleasure to find and overpass my own limits. I´m a little sad know, because I´m far away from my brother (my best buddy) and my Island, but the moments I spend there still make my life beauty.
I can´t say the freediving affect my life, the life affected my freediving. The freediving is like my religion, when I´m going down my mind, body and sea become one, at this moment I feel that I´m part of the universe. I can´t explain it all, It´s a feeling that just the freedivers understand.
My goals are to live in a city with a beautiful sea nearby, I´ll like to reach 50 meters in constant weight and 7´of static.

Frank Pernett
Good Question, properly answered by the "unanswer"

Wow anderson, great question. First of all, I just got back from a commercial job and posted a thread called "Why I freedive". I did not see this thread, and that thread is a little off topic, so here goes.
Besides all the spiritual and environmental connection I get, there is the performance aspect. Performance with my self, not to beat other people. There is always someone better, so that is not the point of competition for me. I have met some great people through this hobby, which has in turn given me hope for the human species. With all the crap that people do to each other, I find that there are periods in my life where I have a hard time wanting to stay on the planet, but that disappears when I dive, and when I am around other freedivers.
I was talking to a friend of mine last week on the dive job, and as we talked about diving (he is a tech-diver), I told him that ever since I was a kid I wanted to be able to dive, fly, and be a super hero. I don't fly, but freediving is a lot closer to it than scubadiving is. You know, wear a mask, wear a skin tight suit, and display super-human abilities. Sound familiar? I get to put on that stuff and be the guy I wanted to be when I was little. The child returns when I am in the water. As for saving the planet from evil...well, I do what I can. I don't run compressors for fun, I don't own a car, I don't buy stuff just because rich people tell me I should.
I just got into spearfishing this year with help from Freediver48, and I would like the opportunity to develop that, when I move somewhere warm and coastal next year.
I would like to be a comfortable 60 metre performance diver, and surpass 6:10 static....a nice round 7 minutes would be nice!
My main goal is to keep having a goal, which is very easy with freediving.
Cheers, and good diving to everyone,
Erik Young
I love the peace and quiet. The opportunity to lose yourself and be totally alone for long periods of time well away from the irritating hustle and bustle of life. The mystery and the majesty of a world so different from what we know. When I was diving on tropical reefs to be honest I found it too 'busy'. I much prefer searching the reefs in Jersey slowly picking your way through large Jap weed beds not knowing when that elusive bass will be waiting around the next turn. It really is a treat when you glimpse a big fish or become immersed in a large shoal of mullet whilst hiding in some weed at 15 metres. Nothing compares to the experiences I have underwater. When you learn to move slowly and carefully to blend in with the surroundings you see some amazing interactions. I've seen a stingray burst from his unseen hiding place beneath the sand and take the mullet I was about to shoot. I was fortunate enough to spot the two eyes of a cuttle fish who had like wise buried himself and just hovered above until he also shot out and sneared a small fish only then realising I was there, giving a vivid display with tentacles raised before jetting off in a cloud of ink. But it's not just such special moments which excite me. Just watching sea slugs munch away on the sea floor, or two crabs duelling over territory, or passing through a shoal of thousands of small silvery bait fish. Every dive is fullfilling irrespective of whether I return with a fish or not.

The added advantage is that I no longer spend large amounts of money at weekends as not to jeopardise the next days diving, and alcohol binges have been all but eliminated. That's one of the reasons I got interested in freediving. You can be of relatively poor fitness to spearfish - I know some guys who almost never leave the surface - whereas freediving requires a higher level of fitness which I try and maintain all year round. And the money I save goes toward buying new equipment for the next season - perfect.

As for it being my life - well I spend every possible moment in the water and relationships rarely last past the winter, the old 'you've got to compromise and spend some more time with me' somehow just isn't that appealing (at the moment at least). Nothing worse than a couple of mates going out for a big days diving and having to turn it down to do some shopping - totally unacceptable!!:t And my current girlfriend being a vegetarian could cause a conflict - but I know which one will be going first.

Excellent question - although it makes me wonder what a physchologist would make of it - no doubt I'm an antisocial self absorbed loner with a serious fear of committment - but we all have our cross to bear!!! :hmm

why I freedive

I guess the main reason I freedive is the love of the underwater world. I have snorkled ever since I could swim, about 3 years old, yea I was a late bloomer. I started serious freediving w/ real freediving gear about ten years ago. Spearfishing is the center of my freediving, wether I get anything or not is secondary. Seeing the underwater world as undisturbed as possible is great. Viewing nature and almost becoming part of it is undescribable. I lived in the Fla. Keys for a number of years and did alot of freediving in the upper keys and some around Key West. I've also freedove in the southern most islands in the Japanese chain, south of Okinawa. Now I live in NC. The conditions are more demanding but just as rewarding. There aren't many freedivers here, mostly snorkelers. I do alot of diving off the beach on a jetty for inshore species and occasionally offshore when I can get a ride. There's tons of marine life around but the vis is such that you only get glimpses of it except on those rare days of great vis and then you are totally amazed. I really don't have any goals per se. I just go out and have fun. When I come back from a dive w/ a feeling of total relaxation and hopefully a heavy stringer I don't think there could be any greater goal. This sport has given me a way to find solitude, a great thing in these crazy days. Take care.
I got certified to dive as soon as I could- it was 14 back then. I fell in love with it from the start. When I was 17, almost 18, I went to California to do my instructor class. While I was there another candidate from Florida had this huge pair of rubber fins that he let me try out in the pool. We told me stories of some guy named Mayol. It intrested me enough in the sport that I always made sure that I fully covered the snorkeling segment of every scuba class I taught- unilke many of my fellow instructors. It soon became my favorite part of entery level training.
At first I was just playing around in our local lakes and quarries. Then, I started to do it on the mooring lines we used for the wrecks we took people out to. I soon realized I could swim down on the other divers to check their status and help out in an emergancy- with my scooter I can do full wreck searches for lost gear in less than half the time of tank divers. I also found that I could get a lot closer to fish when on vacation in the Carribean. I could sneak right up and pet some of them.
I love the sport because it is not tech diving. There is something very freeing about just jumping in fins mask and fins after doing a few dives in doubles, stages, light packs, argon bottles, ect. 5 pounds of gear is a blast after lugging around 200! I also love that you have to "train" for it- it's not about just having a wallet full of cash to get deeper.
I was ready to sell all of my scuba gear this past summer; until I took Kirk's class. Once I found out how dangerous it was to freedive alone I reluctantly decided to keep it- I have no fear of diving alone on scuba.
I have a group of people to play U/W hockey with in the winter. There are also divers in the water with me on the many wrecks I dive in the summer.
Since I started freediving I also found my way into yoga classes. The things I learned there I use everyday. I have even taught some of the breathing techniques to my third grade students to help prevent test anxiety.
The coolest freedive I ever did took place this past summer. I had the chance to dive with whalesharks down in Utila- it was WAY cool!
My goal is to find a buddy around here to train with so I may ditch my scuba gear altogether. I also hope to be freediving when I am 90.
For one simple reason:

....to meet girls. :D

Because I can't help myself.
Because I think seals are as intelligent as I am.
Because Eric Fattah made it so much fun in the beginning.
Because I used to stare at waves a lot when I was a kid, and then I started windsurfing, and swimming, and well, this is the next step.
Because the Earth is mis-named.
Because life is too short.
Because freediving is always an adventure.
Because I like the cold, I like the darkness, and I like the pressure-and the deep sea noises.
Because water is life.
Because a seal kissed me and then kissed me again last weekend.
Because people underwater are beautiful.

And now I've moved to Whitehorse in the Yukon for the winter. Today is my first day here. I'm looking for work. There's snow and it's cold. But spring will come, and there's a river, and an ocean not too far away and lakes, and of course the pool, and daydreaming, and deeper blue/green....

The government told my boss to fire me for a heinous crime (celebrating my 60th birthday), I'm stuck in this forsaken place (Kona), after hearing Bret's sales pitch it sounded like a good idea and all these great divers tolerate, even encourage an old man.
I started in 1947 because I loved the water and saved enough money from my first job to send the money to California for fins and mask. In 1947 $7.50US=$6.50 Canadian.

why I freedive

I could not resist this older thread, it is too good, thanks anderson. For those who have not explored all the threads, there is incredible knowlege here. Thanks to all who have contributed.

Free diving is like a dream I used to have as a very small child ( about 4) I could fly, Peter Pan style, around my bedroom. It was so vivid and felt so fabulous I was dead certain it was real. Fifty years later I can still see every detail of that dream without even closing my eyes.

I loved diving from the minute I stole a friend's copy of Cousteau's "Silent World" at about age 10(still got it) even though it was 5 years before I actually tried it. It was years later, after diving in very clear water, that I realized freediving is my dream, only this time it is real. How incredibly cool.
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To misuse an old phrase: "Dive to Live, Live to Dive" Like the rest of you I found my love of the water immediately. At age 15 I was able to hold my breath for two minutes underwater. Of course, that died along with youthful idealism. Here I am again, recommitting to my first love, Water.

Where? I dive in pools mostly, but what brought me back to freediving was when I went to Cozumel and Grand Cayman. At Cozumel, on my honeymoon cruise, after years of not holding my breath, I dove down to 35 feet and hung around for a few seconds. In Grand Cayman, I repeated the stunt. I remember Cozumel so well. There was a wreck on bottom (obviously) and all these scuba divers were going to swim over to it and then descend on it. I was standing around playing with my snorkel... asking folks to give me an inkling of where this wreck was so my friends and I could snorkel over to it. I spoke to Scuba Joe who informed me where the wreck was but added, "oh, you'll see us on bottom." There was venom in that statement and this bust ass commercial diver wasn't going to be insulted by no damn tube sucker. So my friends and I swam over to the wreck site. They hung around, but I took a few deep breaths and got half way there. I surfaced. On the next attempt, I calmed myself, took a few deep breaths and made it to the bottom and waved to all the scuba divers. On my way up, I took it slow and did some spinning (by holding your fins at angles you corkscrew upwards). The dive lasted about 30 to 40 seconds, but it was well worth it.

At that point, I started to research freediving.


Why do I freedive ? I dive to spear fish for the family cos its cool when your parents send you out in a 12ft Tinny and say that we will be waiting for you to bring dinner home tonight. Puts me into extreme hunting mode right away :D

Where do I freedive ? Eeeerrrrr ummm. On the Nth queensland coast of Australia if you guys know where that is, I hunt both inshore and very offshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef.

What are the conditions ? Well inshore diving vis can be 5ft to far offshore waters and reef patches the vis has been over 200ft. In winter water temp gets down to 23-24C in summer water temp can get to 30-33C this year its currently at 29-30C

What do you see ? Everything from whales to Tiger sharks Pelagics all those stupid little creatures on the reef that the tourists look at. But Dog tooth tuna is the most prized pelagic fish in my area, unless of course you want to hunt out in 4000m of water and look for Marlin :duh

Are there many freedivers in our area ? No im lucky to have a spearing buddy to go diving with SOMETIMES. Theres probably no more than 8 divers I know in our local area and must are just reef munchers.

How long have you been doing it ? Snorkelling about 7years, spearfishing 4 years

What do you get out of it ? The thrill of bringing home dinner for the family. And the feeling of going deeper than youve ever been especially when the vis is not that good, its cool not to be able to see the surface.

How has it affected my life ? Errrrr I always think about hunting but sometimes I get angry when the sea is flat and i cant go diving.

What goals are you set ? 7mins static, and hunt at the 100ft mark.

Cheers Andrew

Well it is my turn

Why do I freedive?
For some kind of personal joy happyness, Yeah I feel happy when I am at the bottom just lying there and looking up at the fish and people swiming at the surface. When in water I feel like a little kid who just got a new toy. And i get that feeling every time. Over and over againg.
I love it!!

Where do i freedive?
Slovenia does not have much sea and there is not much to see here.

What are the conditions?
poor visibility, the deepest point is 35m, not much fish either

Are there many freedivers in the area?
Nope. There are a few in Slovenia but you can count them on your fingers.

How long have you been doing it?
Freediveing for two years snorkeling since I was 5 or 6 (i think).

What do you get out of it?
Everything! It drives my everydays life. Everyday I wake up I say to my self "one day closer to my diveing holidays". When I am down i think about diveing and the sea , it just lifts my spirit up!
Freediveing is my reason to live.

How has it affected my life?
It helped me to find myself.

What goals are you set?
To explore my mind and body, to learn as much as i can.

To beat Ivan at his 7 min static :D :D
A little healty competition has not hurt eneyone:D

hi Zipy

ha ha your on buddy you vs me first to 7mins :D
Wait a minute have you beat your 5:25 pb lately or something if so I could be in trouble :hmm

Better not get to much off subject as I think Andrsn really wants to hear peoples responses.

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Why ?

Because i can somewhat..
Because it freaks scuba divers out at 35m
Because there is always someone deeper
Because my senses are dulled to more mundane pleasures
Because it freaks my mother out
Because its singularly the thing i can do best
Because one day i might plug a monster fish
Because i belong to a unique worldwide community
Because i like having to care for my kit
Because i like buying new kit
Because my garage would look funny without my kit
Because i have a good reason to go to Hawaii and Cyprus

In the ocean, Mocambique coastline Northern SA Natal coast line
In the hole (asbestos quarry)
With gun
Without gun
Never with two guns
and ever since about 2 years ago

To dive 56m short term ( SA record)
To enjoy statics.. even the breathups..
To plug a fat Tuna

And if any of you monkeys above manage a 7min static to find out how the frikkin hell you did it. :)

Here it goes..... When I was a kid, I watched Flipper. For those of you who are 40 or older, you remember. For those younger, too bad for you, it was an awsome show. Did I want to dive? Yes. Did I want to SCUBA? Yes. Did I want to be a Dolphin? You bet your freakin' arse!!!! I spent the majority of my in water time as a kid, under water. All that swimming and splashing around at the surface wasn't for me. I always loved it but never thought of it as anything other than something I just really liked. When I was 11 years old, I found this contraption in my dads workbench. I plugged it in and it made alot of noise. Well, along with the noise came a huge boon. There was lots of air coming out one end of this machine. I immediately took it to the yard, taped the garden hose to the end that had air coming out of it, threw the hose in the pool, jumped in and lay on the bottom of the pool breathing air for the next hour. WOW, I was in my very own version of heaven. The euphoria came to an abrubt end when all of a sudden, the air stopped. I came up and saw the most horrifying thing I could have imagined at that time. My Pop, and he was more than a bit angry. Apparently, according to him, I could have been electricuted. Still don't quite understand, the garden hose, aka Hookah, was rubber. They told me in 6th grade science class that rubber was an insulator. After the true nature of a rubber hose was revealed to me and my rear end, I promised I would not do that again. Had my fingers crossed.
The very first opportunity I had to get certified to SCUBA, I did. I dove for 20 years with tanks. I live in Northern California and throughout my time diving there, I just knew that any amount of time on the surface was just ringing the old dinner bell for that horrible, manhunting, maneating, indiscriminate eating machine, Jaws, (the one from the movie of course) and would have me dispatched in a few seconds.
In 2001, I joined some really stupid, idiotic, shark bait friends at the Mendocino coast. All these crazy fools had been coming here for 30 years, getting in the ocean and spending hours at a time acting just like seals. Floating at the surface, diving down, floating..... They had done all this for some crazy looking shellfish called Abalone. I was intrigued. That evening I tried it. Unbelievable. I was hooked. I had to have some of my own! I was like a dope fiend in a ghetto. O.K. I said, what do I need to do. Well, they said, you will need an Abalone card, an ocean enhancement sticker on your licence, a gauge, and an iron. Off I went to the local dive shop who makes an absolute killing on first time Ab divers.
The following day, I went diving with them. These Abalone were sneaky bastards. I know they were there, all my buddies were bringing them up. I would go down look franticly and rocket back to the surface. Where are they? Right below you! No they aren't! Yes they are. What the...? No luck. I finally found one and after several attempts, removed him from his death grip. I was the ULTIMATE ABALONE HUNTER. I bested this sneaky, elusive creature, and he was mine.
The next day was more of the same, but I was able to find two. One of them had to go back though. It was to small and apparently the effort one had to make to stalk and bring one to the surface means nothing to the California Fish and Game Dept.
Through time, I realized just how easy they were to spot and would get my limit on one or two decents. Just like those friends of mine. All my effort was put into obtaining my prize, and I never thought about where I was or what was going on around me. Once this was no longer a challenge, I wanted to learn to go deeper. I had seen some HUGE Abs while SCUBA diving at 60 feet. I wanted to get those abalone. Only the Abs at 60 feet would do.
I attended a freediving class at a local shop. Great shop, Terry Maas learned there. The first night I found out just how clumsy and inefficient I was in the water. Me? No Way!!! I had been a waterman for over 20 years. Dove everything from blackwater (Sheriffs Office Dive Team) too caves in Mexico and everything in between. I found out that there was an art to this. A very graceful art. The second night, I was able to do a 3:46 static. 2:01 was my previous best. What sort of satanic voodoo was this? Then it was off to the ocean. The instructor said that we were not going to go for depth or anything like that. We would just be evaluated by him on our newly learned skills. He said that if we made it to the bottom during the class, we were free to take Abs, but no Abalone Irons were allowed to be used. Sure, no bottom in sight, even though we had freak conditions and the vis was about 30 ft, and no iron to take these beasts.
We practiced our technique, calmed down, relaxed, and floated effortlessly to the bottom. Wait just one darn minute. I couldn't see the bottom from the edge of visibility but there I was. Kneeling on the bottom. Holy crap. I am down, who knows how deep, I don't need air, I am relaxed, there are Abalone everywhere like someone had taken a hand full of pennies and thrown them on the floor. This was VOODOO!!!!! Couldn't really be happening. Flipper, is that you?
I picked an ab, grabbed it by the edge of the shell with my finger tips and popped it right off the rock. Hmm, Evil Witch Doctor. At what price will this hex have to be paid. I sat there for several seconds in awe of my situation. Took my Ab to the surface and threw it in the kayak. The instructor said it was time to go back and we reluctantly returned to shore.
The next day was more of the same, only a different reef. The inshore side went down to 46 feet, I was later told, and the ocean side went down ????. We dove, picked Abs, shot fish, and hung out. Then it happened. I was down on the ocean side of the reef. I had to come around that end of the reef because there weren't any abs at 46 feet on the inshore side. I dropped down to about 60 ft (estimate, no depth guage, have a D3 now) and while there I actually heard the ocean. That's right, after over 20 years of SCUBA diving, and a couple seasons of Ab diving, I finally heard the ocean. It makes noise. The clicks and squeeks, the fizzy soda sounds, wow. I had never taken the time to listen before. Always was doing, getting, going. Never took the time to listen. That was it, I had connected and right then I was again, 8 years old, and I was as close to being Flipper as I could ever be. That is why I Freedive.
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